Postpartum Depression in New Fathers

Postpartum depression in new fathers may be more harmful to a baby’s early development than in the mother.

There is a lot of press these days about postpartum depression in women, which is great, but did you know that men can also suffer from postpartum depression.

According to several studies, anywhere between 8% and 25% of new fathers suffer from postpartum depression. Yet, almost no one talks about it. Many men never speak about their struggles.

In a 2017 article, Time Magazine reported that 83% of new fathers who were classified as moderately to severely depressed did not tell anyone about their symptoms.

James F. Paulson, PhD, of the Center for Pediatric Research at the Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, Va., presented his findings at the 2008 annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association (APA).

WebMD reports that Paulson not only found that postpartum depression was prevalent in new fathers, but also that it has more of an effect on early childhood development than postpartum depression in new mothers.

His research found that children of depressed fathers had a smaller vocabulary at 2-years -old than children whose fathers engaged with them by reading and singing to them. The same research found no correlation between vocabulary in toddlers and depressed mothers.

It is long past time that we started treating new fathers with the same care and understanding that we grant new mothers.

Perhaps, if we stopped treating postpartum depression as a mother’s issue, and started treating it like what it is, a family issue, we could get help to more of the men who need it.

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